The ongoing Corona pandemic currently has only minor effects on Austrians’ attitude to membership in the European Union, a new survey by the Austrian Society for European Politics finds.

In the telephone survey carried out across Austria from 14 to 29 September 2020 (CATI / 500 respondents / max. fluctuation range +/- 4.48 percent), 70 percent are in favor of Austria remaining a member of the European Union while 14 percent would prefer our country to leave the EU. 16 percent answer “don’t know” or give no response. There are twice as many women in the latter group as men (21 percent compared to 10 percent). A quarter of the youngest respondents (16 to 29 years old) and people with compulsory schooling are also undecided on this question.

A total number of 62 Austrian-wide ÖGfE-surveys since 1995 indicate that – despite fluctuations – Austrians in favor of EU-membership have continuously formed a clear majority. On average the number of membership supporters has been at around 70 percent – which corresponds exactly the current status of September 2020 – versus 22 percent of leavers. The highest support for EU-membership was recorded in November 1999 (82 percent) and June/July 2002 (80 percent), the strongest wish to leave the EU in June/July 2008 (33 percent) respectively in June 2015 (32 percent).

Austrians’ opinion on EU membership has changed only slightly since the beginning of the Corona crisis: In December 2019, shortly before the virus spread around the world, the number of supporters of membership was 75 percent, the number of those wanting to leave reached an all-time low (8 percent). At the time of the lockdown in Austria (March / April 2020), approval for EU membership was 73 percent, disapproval on the other hand 13 percent. The beginning of autumn shows a slight decrease in approval to 70 percent, while the desire to leave is relatively constant – at 14 percent.

Background:

The current survey was conducted by market (www.market.at) from 14 – 29 September 2020 on behalf of ÖGfE. 500 persons were interviewed by telephone (CATI / representative of the Austrian population aged 16 and older / weighted according to gender, age, education and region). Maximum fluctuation range approx. +/- 4.48 percent.